(Two posts in one day! After this morning's very fluffy one, here is one that is a little more thought-provoking)
Yesterday I was driving from work with my MP3 player on and I was merrily singing along to a pretty eclectic collection of tunes… and then one particular song came on, one that I know well and have heard many times, and I suddenly started to really, really listen to it.
Look at me
I will never pass for a perfect bride
Or a perfect daughter
Can it be
I'm not meant to play this part?
Now I see
That if I were truly to be myself
I would break my family's heart
It hit me hard. All of a sudden the real meaning of those lyrics became very apparent and I started to cry. In my car. With other people watching but I didn’t care. I suddenly felt Mulan’s pain when she realizes she is only playing a part in life but deep inside she knows she is someone totally different.
I have been questioning my own role in life lately and I’ve noticed that who I am in public is not really who I am. I sometimes coast through life and make choices that have little or nothing to do with what I want, but I make these choices because others depend on me and those very same choices. So I make those choices willingly, but knowing that deep down those choices are not necessarily my choices.
So yes, if I was truly myself “I would break my family’s heart”. I don’t want to hurt them so I carry on, taking on the act of someone else and little by little I feel that the person I really am is vanishing.
Who is that girl I see?
Staring straight back at me?
Why is my reflection someone I don't know?
Somehow I cannot hide
Who I am, though I've tried
When will my reflection show
who I am, inside?
When indeed? When will the time come when I can be true to myself and also ensure that no one is hurt with that truth? Will I ever manage to reconcile these two personas into one single, truthful person? If I remember correctly, Mulan at the end of the story was able to achieve this and her family was proud. But this was Hollywood and the happy ending is de rigueur. My life isn’t a movie (at least not that I know of!) so the ending is far less likely to be similarly happy and tidy.
I don’t have the answer and hence my tears: I was frustrated and sad at the same time – I want to be able to be who I really am but, in the harsh light of real life, things are not quite that easy. The easy choice indeed is to do nothing but what about me? The right choice is probably to be true to myself but what about everyone else? I can’t make everyone happy and it is this that frustrates me.
Eventually the song’s last notes faded away and I wiped away my tears and carried on with my life, as I always do. The Reflection was over and it was time to move on, hoping that someday the girl looking back at me in the mirror truly is ME.